Operations at Gugulethu Social Development office suspended

Social Development MEC Albert Fritz

The provincial Department of Social Development announced this afternoon that it had closed its Gugulethu local office after yesterday’s destructive and violent protest action.

“The Department is continuing to assess the damage caused. The ongoing tensions in the area pose a serious risk to the safety of our staff, and necessitated our action,” said Social Development MEC Albert Fritz.

Yesterday’s assault on the Gugulethu Local Office by a splinter group of protesters, left four vehicles belonging to staff burnt, and two government vehicles used by social workers damaged.

“In addition, we have come to learn that one of our social workers returning from fieldwork and unaware of the violence at the office, was accosted by the mob and ejected from the official vehicle. This vehicle was then burnt to a cinder. This matter has also been reported to the South African Police Services,” said Mr Fritz.

The department said that two social workers were receiving trauma counselling after they had been forced to barricade themselves in the building – along with a child in their care – as protesters tried to access the main office building.

Mr Fritz added: “The attack on our social workers and our infrastructure, which serves the poorest and most vulnerable, is condemned in the strongest terms possible. The actions of a few criminals have had a profoundly negative effect on service delivery. We continue to call on the police to conduct a thorough investigation, and bring those responsible to face the full might of the law.”